*Rivers Utd beat S’Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic away
ABAH Duro Ikhazuagbe
The miserable state of the domestic club football in the country was highlighted with the 3-0 drubbing of Enyimba FC by Sudan’s Al Merriekh on Wednesday afternoon in Omdurman.
The first leg fixture was the last hurdle for Enyimba to reach the group stage of CAF Champions League this year.
If the People’s Elephant fail in the reverse fixture in Aba next week, it will be the second year running that any Nigerian club side could not reach the lucrative group stage of the topmost club contest in the continent.
With the Nigerian topflight league yet to resume from lockdown since March, most club sides in the country have been idle and match rusty.
Saif Terry was the nemesis of the two-time African champions yesterday as he bagged all the three goals for El Merriekh in the first round tie at the Al Hilal Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Terry scored the goals in the sixth, 44th and 90th minutes to smile away with the ball of the day.
All attempts by Enyimba Coach, Fatai Osho, to at least reduce the tally failed to yield any dividend. The introduction of the duo of Nabil Yarou and Tosin Omoyele after the interval, had little effect on the game but the goals just refused to come till end of 90 minutes.
If Enyimba fails to cancel the three goals deficit, they are to drop to the second tier CAF Confederation Cup to join Rivers United who went to South Africa to grab a 2-0 away win against Bloemfontein Celtic last night.
The Pride of Rivers State redeemed the day for Nigeria despite having three of their players disqualified from playing. South African authorities who tested the Nigerian delegation announced that three Rivers United players had Covid-19 and so were not allowed to be part of the match.
Officials of the Port Harcourt team however disputed the claim, insisting that all players and officials all tested negative before departing Nigeria for South Africa.